MSNBC's Chris Matthews makes on-air apology to Sanders for linking Nevada victory to Nazi rise: 'I was wrong'

MSNBC host Chris Matthews offered a rare on-air apology to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after his remarks invoking the rise of Nazi Germany following the 2020 front-runner's victory in Nevada sparked major backlash.

"Before getting into tonight's news, I want to say something quite important and personal. As I watched the one-sided results of Saturday's Democratic caucus in Nevada, I reached for a historical analogy -- and used a bad one. I was wrong to refer to event from the first days of World War II," Matthews began his show  Monday night.

He continued, "Senator Sanders, I'm sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electorate result in which you were the well-deserved winner. This is going to be a hard-fought, heated campaign of ideas. In the days and weeks and months ahead, I will strive to do a better job myself of elevating the political discussion. Congratulations, by the way, to you Senator Sanders and to your supporters on a tremendous win down in Nevada."

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On Saturday, calls for Matthews' resignation grew on social media after expressing a grim reaction to Sanders' clear victory in the Democrats' third contest, solidifying his front-runner status.

“I'm reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940," Matthews said during the network's caucus coverage. "And the general calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over,’ and Churchill says, ‘How can it be? You got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It's over.’”

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The backlash was swift, including from the Sanders campaign.

"Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the nazis to the Third Reich. But here we are," Sanders communications director Mike Casca reacted.